Thinking CAP: CAP's manufacturer relationships manager Martin Ward scours the globe for the week's insider fleet intelligence
Over to Düsseldorf to drive not one, but two new Audis – and two very different vehicles.
The first was the new A6, which has received a few minor cosmetic changes, and you have to have really good eyes to spot them. This is unusual for Audi as it generally makes substantial changes mid-lifecycle.
The interior has also received a few minor tweaks which don’t really add up to much.
But it is the changes to some of the engines which will make a difference, especially to company car drivers.
The new engine I drove was the 2.0 TDIe, an ultra-efficient common rail diesel that has a CO2 emission figure of just 139g/km, and is capable of achieving up to 53mpg.
The 0-62mph figure of 10.3 seconds is not earth-shattering, and it doesn’t feel particularly quick when accelerating, but it is adequate, and it comes into its own at motorway speed cruising.
On a quiet derestricted autobahn it got up to 110mph and held it for many miles, where it was quiet and refined.
The second new Audi is the Q7 6.0-litre V12 TDI – the most powerful diesel SUV produced.
This monster produces 500bhp, takes seven people and a load of luggage, yet still manages to accelerate from 0-62mph in a staggering 5.5 seconds.
This engine has race heritage as it was developed from the three-times winner of the Le Mans 24-hour race – the R10 TDI.
Audi claims it will manage around 25mpg on the combined cycle and produces 298g/km.
It has ceramic brakes as standard, and with all that weight and power it needs them.
The price is a whopping £96,295, but with very limited supply, they will no doubt sell.
Took a Ford Mondeo Econetic Estate to Lommel on the Belgian/Dutch border, and the home of Ford’s European test facility, for a few presentations and a good look at the all-new Ka.
This new baby Ford has been conceived in conjunction with Fiat and will be built in Poland.
The Ka shares the same platform and a few other under-the-skin components with the Panda, and the brilliant 500
However, the bodywork and glass are completely different, as is the interior.
Ford has worked on suspension, brakes, handling and ride to give it the ‘Ford DNA’.
When the original Ka was launched in 1996 it only had eight direct competitors, but now there are 22.
Ford has had a bit of luck recently, with the introduction of the new Kuga, Fiesta and now the Ka – all cars that are in demand and within budgets, and relatively cheap to run.
It seems Ford can’t do anything wrong at the moment.
The new Ka is a great car that is bound to sell without any problems – it looks cute and will be priced sensibly, with a sub-120g/km petrol engine as standard.
The Mondeo I went in was fitted with the 139g/km of CO2 1.8 TDCi diesel engine that produces 125bhp.
It is so quiet and on the 1,015 mile return journey across four countries, mainly on motorways, it achieved 50.2mpg, which is a great result.
The Econetic is based on the Zetec, but does not lose any of the high level of standard equipment, except the alloy wheels.